Conservative leader Colin Craig has spent about $3
million of his own money on the election so far but he is
confident he will not run out of money before election day on
Mr Craig, a property developer, was worth a net $5 million.
He had reviewed the budget and knew there was enough money
until polling day.
This election, others were contributing to the party coffers
and party volunteers were spending their own time
The party was standing candidates in every general electorate
He was confident the money was so far well spent, with the
party gaining momentum with voters as the campaign moves into
the last four weeks.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Craig said the polls had the
Conservatives ahead of where the party was polling before the
''Our internal polling is showing us at 4.5%. We caught New
Zealand First for the first time last week.
"I am comfortable with our polling - it is bang on for
getting us over 5%.''
Mr Craig said he was not naive and he spent Sunday
campaigning in Napier on behalf of candidate Garth McVicar,
formerly of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.
Mr McVicar had a ''good chance'' of winning the seat being
vacated by National MP Chris Tremain. Former Labour MP Stuart
Nash is also standing in the seat.
National did not do an electorate deal with the
Conservatives, as it did with Act's Epsom candidate David
Seymour and United Future leader Peter Dunne.
When Mr Craig was in Dunedin about a month ago, he told the
ODT the Conservatives had 6000 members and supporters.
Yesterday, the party had 7500.
The party needs between 110,000 and 120,000 votes to get it
across the 5% threshold and into Parliament if it does not
win a seat.
South Island support was growing quickly following the
mailing out of Conservative Party brochures, he said.
''We have so many forms coming back we can't process them
all. We have boxes of them.''
One of the issues causing him angst this week was the start
of National and Labour spending their $1 million of allocated
taxpayer funding on television and radio advertising spots.
The Conservatives had been allocated a small amount of time
but were unable to buy any more time on either television or
radio, a situation he found unfair.
A better way would be to have a spending cap on how much
individual parties could spend on advertising.
Mr Craig had been in discussions with the Electoral
Commission on that and other areas of concern.
''The challenge for us in the next four weeks is working to
get some cut-through. Let's just say we are working on
Mr Craig believed his straight-shooting style of ''telling it
like it is'' was striking a chord with South Island voters
who wanted one law for all, wanted to be able to discipline
their children and were not comfortable with land sales to
Mr Craig campaigned in Balclutha and Gore yesterday and will
be in Queenstown today and tomorrow.